Thursday, April 11, 2013

Doctors, Doctors and MORE Doctors

So, the fun is beginning.  Some of this "fun" we anticipated.  Some, we did not.

We met with Ethan's surgeon on Tuesday.  He's the one who repaired Ethan's cleft lip & palate almost 3 years ago now.  We like him.  So we took Hope to see him this week for a consult.  To see what he feels needs to be done.  You see, we saw another cleft team in Feb and we left there not too thrilled with them.  They basically scratched their heads trying to figure out what to do medically with Hope.  They threw out ideas, but we still felt like they were playing a guessing game.  So we decided to let Dr. S see her.

She was great for him. She opened her mouth, let him look inside.  And then he lifted her top lip and we saw a hole that we did not know existed.  He's surprised she does not have food coming out of her nose.

What does he suggest?  Well, first we need to see the orthodontist who is familiar with cleft kids.  We saw him for Ethan and loved him.  We made that appointment for April 23.  Dr. S wants to have an appliance put into H's mouth to expand her palate.  Then he wants to put a scope down her nose to see how the back of her palate is working when she talks.  (Yeah, that won't be fun).

Depending on how that test comes back will determine if she needs surgery on her palate.  BUT, she needs a bone graph.  This is something that should have been done 5 years ago.  About the same time they were closing her palate.  This is a painful surgery & recovery.  This will be done this year.  So please start praying.

He also said we will need to break her top jaw and move it forward. She has a really bad underbite.  This surgery will take place when she is 17 or 18 years old. He said this is a very painful surgery and recovery.  But it needs to be done.

We also got Hope's hearing tested today.  And to our surprise, she PASSED!  Praise God. This means we can check off the ENT from our list of doctor visits.  (at least for Hope.  Ethan needs tubes again and has mild hearing loss).

We are taking Hope back to Shriners in April for a follow up to how she walks.  We were supposed to have physical therapy but we have not found the time to do it. I do think her walking has improved since she's been home.  I'm also praying they can confirm that she is growing.

And today, we called a therapist.  We have been putting this off. Praying the behaviors we've been witnessing would go away with time.  But they aren't. And it's taking it's toll on the other kids (and Bill & I).  Today she had a toddler tantrum because she couldn't have lemonade.  Last night she had a meltdown because she doesn't want to go to a thing for the girls NEXT YEAR!  So, we are going on Tuesday to see if we can figure out what is going on.  And hopefully will be helped with how to handle the meltdowns when they happen.  Because I don't think we're doing it right.

So many doctors.  Sweet Hope said "Why I see so many doctors? I don't want to. Doctor all done".  I feel so bad. I wish she did not have to see so many doctors. But then she tells us "Mommy, I want teeth like yours.  I want a nose like yours".  And we explain that is why we are seeing the doctors.

Today while she was waiting for her turn to get her hearing evaluated, she drew Pooh.  Freehand.  No tracing. She just looked at a Pooh Bear that was on the wall.  I was totally impressed.  I could not believe this. I honestly had no idea she could draw without tracing something.  I think we need to sign her up for art classes.  She is so proud of her work.  (BTW, Pooh only has 1 arm because before she could finish it was her turn to get evaluated).  She also drew Piglet.  I love watching her creativity come out.  :-)

Hope with the Piglet she drew

Hope's Pooh Bear

Sunday, April 7, 2013

8 Months!

Another month has passed.  We've been the girls parents for 8 months now.  Wow!  What a journey this has been.  Still having growing pains, but for the most part things are going very well.

Maggie is blossoming into an American teenager.  She loves the friends she's making. She even received a phone call from a friend the other night. Her first phone call!  She was beaming.  She walked into the other room so we would not listen.  LOL.  Typical teenager, right?

Hope is trying.  She has her good days. And they are becoming more the norm for her.  BUT, we still go through some rough times.  The other night was one of them.  It's hard when she breaks down like this, because it disrupts the entire family.  The other kids are starting to be affected by the breakdowns.  And it's not just crying, it's a full blown toddler tantrum, from a 13 year old.  The other night's lasted an hour.  Maggie ended up in a corner crying.  She said she's mad at Hope for doing this.  She informed us that Hope was kept with the little kids in the orphanage up until they found out that she was being adopted with Maggie.  Then she was allowed to go upstairs with the big kids (kids her age).  This broke my heart.  I literally broke down crying.  So for 12 1/2 years, Hope was not allowed to grow up. I don't know why they did this.  It makes me angry.  Our sweet Hope has so much to overcome.

After Hope finally calmed down, she told us "If you & daddy want to send me back to China it's okay with me".  WHAT??????  We asked her "Do you want to go back to China?"  She said "No, but if you want me to go back it's okay with me".  BROKE.....MY.....HEART!!!!!!  We told her we DO NOT want her going back. We know that she had a hard time there.  We want her here with us. We are her mom & dad.  She said she did not have a hard time in China.  But then she told us about the kids who would be mean to her.  Physically & emotionally.   :-(   After all of this was discussed, we found out that a couple of girls that they knew, were being adopted by families.  And they acted bad so their families returned them back to the orphanage.  SO....Hope's thinking that since she is bad, that is what families do, return the kids.  Again....broke my heart!  

We have a lot to overcome and we are praying that God can give us the right words & actions.  It's been 8 months, and she is finally sharing more with us.

These past 8 months have also shown me how many people there are who are helping us.  It's the little things that are HUGE for us.  Friends who are here when I need a shoulder to cry on, or laugh with; family who supports our family and loves our kids. And then there are the strangers who are becoming so important in our girls lives. People we did not know before we adopted the girls.  People who did not sign up with us to bring the girls home.  I'm talking about the teachers.  I am just blown away with how much these people are loving our girls.  They are priceless to me.  Showing them compassion and also guidance. Teaching them things that the girls are loving.  Being there for them.  Even spoiling them.  I was scared to adopt an older child.  How would we teach them. How would we communicate. Well God has provided.  I'm in awe with how much love & support we and the girls receive.  We are forever grateful for the kindness of those around us.

Now I will leave you with some photos.  Yesterday marked 8 months like I said.  And it was a busy day (that's why this post is a day late).  It was a good day.  Hope was in a better mood.  The kids had fun playing with their cousins.  And all 4 of our girls donated their hair to Locks of Love.  Hope was scared and even cried.  I know her fear was she would look like a boy.  In China, they cut her hair to look like a boy.  Another emotional scar we need to get through.  But we promised she would not look like a boy and once they cut her braid she smiled and we gave high 5's.  We are so proud of our girls donating their hair. They know why they donated.  And I think it made them feel happy to be able to help other kids.

Thank you for being here for us.  We do have good days, but the hard days I can't get through without the love & support from others.  Thank you for praying for our family.  6 kids is a lot.  Exhausting. But also rewarding.

Look how long their hair was

How much was donated

Hair looks so cute 

40 inches of hair being donated

Cute hair, all ready for summer

8 months as sisters



Hope on rope swing at her cousin's house

Watching their cousin play baseball.  

Maggie on rope swing

Maggie LOVES playing "baseball"

Hope is fascinated with baseball

A precious, happy moment with Hope

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

First Easter for the Girls

The girls were excited. Easter was coming. BUT they did not know the real meaning about this day.  They thought the bunny was coming to give them eggs.  We kept telling them that this was the day Jesus woke up and went to heaven.  They would say "Ahhhh".  Then they would talk about the bunny.  We informed them that the bunny is us (did not want them going to middle school telling their friends the bunny brought them stuff).  They thought that was cool.  We went to church and they learned more about Easter.  Our day was so busy with family stuff that we came home, ate lunch, hid and found eggs and then Bill & I had to run out.  Later that night when we got home it was time to get everyone ready for bed.

Well last night the crucifixion was brought up again. And Maggie reenacted it.  She said "In China we watch on TV".  This surprised me.  They kept asking "why is Jesus a bad man?"  I kept saying "He's not a bad man. He loves us. He died for all of us so we could go to heaven".  Well that freaked Maggie out.  This started a 30-45 minute discussion on Jesus.  Why we love Jesus. Why he loves us.  Why did the bad people put him in the cross.  Where is he now?  etc.  THEN, they said "Mommy, Jesus told you to go to China to adopt?"  I said YES!  This is what I said:

"Mommy could not have any more babies in my tummy. So we prayed.  Jesus told us "Go to China to adopt Abby". So we did.  We were so happy.  We said no more babies.  Then Jesus said "Go to China to adopt Jadyn".  So we did.  We were happy. We said no more babies.  Then Jesus said "Go to China to adopt Ethan". So we did. We were happy. We said no more babies.  Then Jesus said "Go to China, adopt TWO older girls".  And we were scared.  But we listed to Jesus and we went to China and we adopted both of you.  We are happy.  And we are saying No More Babies".   Then they giggled.

They asked me "why you scared to adopt us?"  I told them "I was scared because you were older girls, not babies. I was scared that you would not want to come with us. I was scared that you would be mean to me. I was scared you would run from me."  They said "We were scared to come to America".  They said "Are you scared now mommy?"  I said "NO!  Are you scared now?"  They said "NO, we Happy!".

The talk went really well.  We are going to continue the conversation about Jesus because Hope is still confused. She does not get it unless she can see it.  I am SO happy that this talk is happening so early in their new life.  It's been less than 8 months and Jesus has been planted in their minds.  I am concerned to what they have been thinking though.  They thought Jesus was a bad man.  Did they think we were weird/bad people for praying to a bad man?

Please pray for us that we can clearly share the gospel to the girls in a way that they will understand.

I will leave you with some photos that we took after church on Sunday. Hope was great and wore a dress and did not put up a fight. She could not wait to take it off when we got home though so she was not too cooperative when taking the photos.  Thankfully you can't really tell that she was not cooperating. She smiled long enough to take the pictures and then she was DONE!  LOL

YES, we're crazy!